Even though I have yet to see this movie, I have heard a lot of backlash regarding the storyline of it. I just jumped off of a blog talk radio show where the host and chat room participants were pretty much slamming the entire movie. I believe that people are entitled to their own opinions, so I’ll add mine.
Tyler Perry has accomplished what so many writers and filmmakers only dream of accomplishing in a lifetime. The beginning of his life was littered with emotionally challenging occurrences that would destroy even the strongest person, yet by the Grace of God he managed to pull himself up from homelessness to amass a media empire that is employing a multitude of black actors and actresses. I’m pretty sure on that same ticket are black caterers, costume designers, make up artists, hair stylists, stunt people, etc… all whom are reaping the benefits of having a studio owned by a black man.
Listening to people tearing him down at the height of his success is sickening to me. I remember looking at this documentary about Amos & Andy, and how black people back then boycotted and raised so much hell about the show, similar to the way people are raising hell about Tyler’s latest movies, until the show got canned. Well, as a result, many black people were instantly unemployed, and that is such a travesty.
Artistic expression is a form of freedom of speech, and that is what I love the most about being a writer, I have the ability to create story lines that I want to tell, and hopefully one that some will identify with and gather strength from. I remember a line from Tyler’s “The Family That Preys” that said something to the effect of, you never know a person’s story unless you have walked in their shoes. Well, in my opinion, movies like Precious and For Colored Girls are made to pull the cloak off of unspoken events that are chilling, blood curling, and uncomfortable, as a way of getting people to talk about them
There are so many individuals walking around here, bottled up with so much guilt and shame about what they’ve been through, and I believe that cinema courageous enough to address these issues are just as important as the ones that want to paint the perfect picture of love, family, and life. As a hopeless romantic myself, I would love to sit and watch a string of movies where the characters skip off into the sunset and live happily ever after, but that is unrealistic. There is a whole lot of drama that begins after the honeymoon period when two people first meet, and I’d rather see a realistic story that details the struggles that accompany being in a relationship.
My thoughts are currently pre-movie, and I will be making my way down to the theater to see this Tyler Perry produced movie. You know, I remember watching “The Secret Life of Bees” with a friend of mine, and after the movie was done all she had to say was, the book was way better than the movie. I was like, yeah, it probably had more detail, but damn, how come you only got that out of seeing it?
Perhaps I am biased since I am a writer, and I know that when you put your art out there for the world to see, criticism is an unfortunate part of the whole creative process. Not everyone is going to like everything that is presented for the big screen, so I suppose you just chalk it up as food for thought and move on, not letting anyone discourage you from doing what it is you love to do. I remember the title “For Colored Girls Only..Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf” back when I was younger, and since I have never read the book before, I’ll be seeing the story for the first time when I go see the movie. I may or may not read the book, but if I do, I’ll not compare the two to one another, because I know it is virtually impossible to have everything as it was when it was written in the novel format.
Before I finish, there was a statement made on this blog talk radio show that I was listening to that ticked me off; the person asked the rhetorical question: Who believes this movie is great, someone addicted to mental dysfunction? I thought it was an irresponsible statement made by someone who probably has never experienced heartbreaking or spirit battering situations, and I can only say that, perhaps, should that day come, God-forbid, that they’ll remember their statement and have a little bit more compassion for people who have lived through challenging experiences.
In closing, I’d just like to say that this whole Tyler Perry backlash doesn’t surprise me in the least; it’s that crabs in a barrel mentality that we as a people continue to struggle with. I may not agree with everything someone else does, but if they are trying to inspire someone going through a bad spot in their lives, then who in the hell am I to discredit what they’re doing?
Tyler, my hats off to you my friend, and perhaps one day we will meet, and on that day, I will shake your hand and say, job well done.
Author, G. D. Grace
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